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Portable Phonograph, The


Published 1977
Topics apocalypse


An adaptation of the short story of the same title by Walter Van Tilburg Clark, in which four men who have survived a catastrophic war share memories of their past lives and a civilization which no longer exists. Here, a vintage recording of Debussy's Nocturne played by Walter Gieseking becomes the vehicle by which four lovers of the humanities hover together in a cold post-apocalyptic shack of sandbags to mourn weekly over lost art and loves gone by. Barnes, who must be considered among the greatest filmmakers ever to work in the educational world, forcibly illustrates, through flashback sequences and close-up shots, how the humanities --- music, painting, literature, and theatre --- are perhaps the most enriching of all human endeavors. Their ultimate and devastating loss may have never before or since been shown with such terrifying passion. This, Barnes’ final film, would have benefited from general theatrical release; if it had, it certainly would have picked up some well-known awards. It one of the most powerful short films ever made, and one which bears as much, if not more, value for adults than children. For more on John Barnes, visit http://www.afana.org/barnesbio.htm


Run time 23:02
Producer John Barnes
Production Company Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.
Sponsor Jeanne Barnes
Audio/Visual sound, color

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